COMMENTARY: People’s Party of Dominica responds to PM Skerrit’s ‘economic terrorism’ statement

ppodPeople Party of Dominica (PPOD) would like to address recent comments made by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who described criticism of the island’s citizenship by investment program (CBI) as economic terrorism after he returned to the island from a promotional trip to four countries.

Although there is no internationally agreed upon definition of the term “terrorism” such term should not be taken lightly or used out of context in order to suit ones agenda for political gain. One could also derive from the Prime Minister’s comments that his use of the term is bordering the same act he has used to describe his criticizers as a use to intimidate and quash dissent for political gain or to advance a political agenda.

Statements derived from a DNO article quoted below gave the Prime Minister’s explanation for such comments.

“Skerrit said more than 90 percent of the island’s capital project this year is being funded directly from and through the CBI Program. And this is a program that opposition parliamentarians are on social media deriding and putting up for public ridicule,” he remarked. “When you destroy this goose, what other specimen of bird will they bring forward to underwrite the cost of developing this country? What is the alternative? That we should tax the country to raise $271-million to finance the budget? What is the alternative? How many of us can pay more taxes in Dominica? How many of us are able to pay taxes in Dominica to finance the development of our country?””

To the less informed populace this may seem to be a legitimate response to a country struggling to meet its development needs. However, PPOD views it much differently, this sounds like an administration who has done all they can and is now bankrupt with ideas for sustainable development of a country in these modern times.

Although the CBI program brings in a major portion of the income to the island, the benefits of such investment are not directly felt by the local population on the island. Coupled with the lack of transparency surrounding the program and its funds, it should be of no surprise to the Prime Minister that criticism would arise.

The Island of Dominica is burdened by a lack of cash flow, lack of money circulation and lack of incentives for businesses to generate income to create higher monetary circulation into the country. A more forward thinking government should invest funds from the CBI program into sustainable projects to infuse income into the country. As its original purported purpose should be to invest into different economic programs to ignite entrepreneurship and private sector growth.

Currently is it said that the majority of products are affordable to the average Dominicans until it enters the port and Duty system, at which point affordability is either lessened or dissolved altogether. This way of governance stifles economic growth and prevents sustainable development. However the dependence on these taxes without creating other avenues for revenue is not only short sighted, some may see it as deliberate deprivation aimed at creating a populace dependent on assistance, where a government is praised for negligible achievements, short advances and moreover, simply doing what they were put in power to do, their job.

The CBI program should be a driver of growth not maintenance. Failing industries should be given actual and aggressive attention as opposed to lip service. Negligible relief without addressing the root cause of stagnation is a plan destined to fail. Instead a 360-degree approach needs to be taken in order for the economy, more particularly, the private sector to thrive. One must acknowledge that in business, it is volume that creates wealth and prosperity.

When taxes and duties are too high, volume decreases, individual spending decreases, cash circulation drops along with sales, profits and the collection of taxes. This has a direct correlation to salaries and attracting foreign businesses, skilled workers and diasporas who may want to come back home and invest, but are deterred by the high cost of doing business on island.

Moving forward, we must focus on the average citizen of the country, the people that those in power seem to be out of touch with. Focus on the actual drivers of economic growth in the country and fully understand how a true economic model is supposed to operate, from the bottom up, and not the top down.

The CBI program has worked in many countries, however the management of those funds and how they are infused into the economies and the driving sustainable sectors of the economy is what makes them successful. To use these funds for major projects, some if not most become white elephants because of lack of foresight and proper long-term planning, warrants criticism from not only the opposition, but the general public as well.

To categorize such criticism not Terrorism and not constructive criticism is a blatant form of suppression of a populace to stifle public opinion and freedom of speech.

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29 Comments

  1. Christian Volney
    November 25, 2016

    Someone needs to remind this Prime Minister that he has single handedly dismantled the Dominican Economy and replaced it with a ‘Non-sustainable’ Economic Citizenship Program that is a ‘temporary’GDP means!
    The lack of vision displaced by this man as a leader is uncanny by all acceptable means and has lowered the Dominican image on the international scene to that of a Third World beggar!

  2. John Brown
    November 25, 2016

    The most troubling part of the PM’s statement, to me, is that he has asked everyone else to do his and the government’s job. It is your job to find and create ways to grow the economy and make this the land of milk and honey. If you’re asking for other people to do it, with a defeatist attitude, then someone else needs to be in the driver seat.
    The CBI program is a quick fix to a long term problem. Yes, it offers direct cash flow into treasury, but it does very little to put money into the pockets of the people long term and bearly short term. Ok, a hotel is being built, great. The PM also remarked that tourism isn’t a sustainable economic driver. What does that day and do for the new hotel project? How does that show confidence that the millis just invested from the CBI was well spent if the government leader is now saying its a weak industry long term.
    Honestly, my biggest concern I have is that we are selling our citizenship at an alarming rate. Dominica is being devalued.

  3. Helas!
    November 25, 2016

    I enjoy reading your column, I dare say the PM tries to demonise and dehumanise every person who see things differently.
    I still cannot actually believe that I heard Minister Darroux talk about Three hundred thousand plus to build the Marigot Hospital? What are we building a six bedroom house?
    This is far up north, this is where our major airport is located. will it be able to house patients , if so how many? and what else? A surgical room , an intensive care unit?
    However by asking those questions, somebody will be red vex and try to insult my person.

    • Diversify the Economy
      November 27, 2016

      What will happen God forbid if we have. Major plane crash at the airport in Marigot with several casualties?

  4. November 24, 2016

    I am not against the CBI program in it’s entirety but i believe that the way that the Govt. is going about it is not altogether proper .it looks like the sovereignty of the country is prostituted .

  5. Dominican2thebone
    November 24, 2016

    Yes! Tell is as it is. Two thumbs up People’s Party… I like all you style. Anonymous has nothing on you guys. Dominicans le we go… PPOD Moi Ka pwiaday ba Zor… Zor pa vwe ca c’est bon diay … yes Hod sent them to save us in Dominica. Christians let’s pray together to protect them and lead our little Dominica to prosperity. God bless ALL YOU

  6. eyes wide shut
    November 24, 2016

    nice Satan symbol, if you make a 360′ turn you are going the same direction you were going originally. why hide behind Satan symbols.

  7. CitizenKaine
    November 24, 2016

    @ KidOnTheBlock: My friend you are part of a myopic problem that has gripped many of us, some more than others. You choose to focus on the topical and inane, rather than the substance of the message. We have already given UWP a chance, and they proved that they lacked the charisma and foresight to diversify the D/can economy quickly enough. Labour, well, as you can see the country is going to the dogs. We do need some new blood, some fresh ideas. Open your mind to the message, you might learn something.

  8. bro
    November 24, 2016

    this is still very empty. Did they mention any specific area to invest in, or particular projects that could be not only sustainable but yield returns equivalent to that of the CBI program? Nope nothing. That’s my problem with these wannabe leaders.

    Are they saying use the CBI program revenue to replace port duties/ taxes? That’s the master plan to make things sustainable- increase the import/ export gap in the country?

    These guys are on that Donald Trump juice. Things are bad, lets make Dominica great again. What’s your plan? Make Dominica great. How do you go about that? Invest in sustainable projects. It’ll be great? What specific projects are we looking at? Great projects, projects that will create tons of employment, and make Dominica great again.

    If any political party in opposition is serious then they should just release a manifesto right now with specific projects, outlining how investing in these projects will move the country forward. Not empty essays.

    • Dominican2thebone
      November 25, 2016

      Yes I, for DLP to take their ideas? Please ..your comment has no substance DLP in power for 16 years and have done nothing to improve the economy yet you attempt to ridicule a new party with fresh ideas? Continue to support Red it’s just not a good enough colour for me. Labour Pas Ka Twavay peiss! Time for new blood! We take enough we pal.

  9. Same old story
    November 24, 2016

    Just come out of the closet and confess that you all are just another UWP.

  10. KID ON THE BLOCK
    November 24, 2016

    Your symbol represents that of the DEVIL. Stop hiding behind your dark curtains. DominicanS don’t deal with phantoms …. Is this a change in the making? From UWP to PPOD?

    • November 24, 2016

      Since when is a trident the sign of the devil? It’s on the flag of Barbados, does that mean Bajans are in league with Lucifer? Stop being ridiculous, man.

      • Tjebe fort
        November 25, 2016

        Right on Steve. It is also the badge of a a famous Italian supercar, Maserati. Guess that kid on the block has never heard of that either and needs to go back to school.

  11. Massacre
    November 24, 2016

    The People’s Party have good writers that’s all I can say about them . Their comments were on point and correct. But still we need a face to the Paty

  12. Fidel Castro
    November 24, 2016

    It actually looks like we have serious competition for the labour rats. I see hope for Dominica, great. I hope Dominicans embrace this political party

  13. Patrick Kinsessha, LLM, (jurist)
    November 24, 2016

    I am sorry, as around 100% of our wealth is gained from the sale of our passports to rich people, then it MUST be economic terrorism to criticize our CBI program in any way.

    I would recommend that cover legislation is drafted by Ray Harris immediately from CBI funds and for its provisions to read:-

    Patriot Act for National Security – Economic Terrorism
    ===================================

    Definitions

    An economic terrorist is anyone who criticizes the country’s CBI and/or associated programs, and/or any member of the government and/ or their agents involved in such programs. This definition applies to anyone aiding, or encouraging economic terrorism.

    Offence

    It is an offence to perpetrate an act of economic terrorism. Offenders shall be subject to arrest without a warrant and to solitary internment within, or without the jurisdiction at the unilateral discretion of the Minister of Finance. It shall not be possible to appeal to any court in respect to these measures.

    • Dominican2thebone
      November 25, 2016

      Why the heck not at this point! Whistleblowers names must be made known. Children are told to support crime stoppers yet they can’t reports adults who rape them or their friends! We signed if in parliament for People’s land oops collateral to be taken from them with no notice so we can make our debt appear lower.. but wait… we also didn’t realize we just gave a whole lot of our land to foreigners. The rate we are going Dominicans will not be able to afford land in Dominica.., GREAT JOB DLP you’ve made PJ 1/7 sale look like a drop in a bucket! Now that’s the kind of work you have been doing.Selling our land our ancestors died to get for us! Fools you are looking at a mere dollar at the expense of your country & it’s people. Our measure should not be money EVER! PASSPORTS ARE NOT TO BE COMMERCIALIZED! DLP, you are selling us out no different than the African who sold us as slaves. Look past your nose on this one.! the CBI Program is leading to us being owned by foreigners.

    • DA4real
      November 25, 2016

      That’s a joke? Right?

    • Concerned Dominican
      November 26, 2016

      Nice one Patrick Kinsessha, LLM, (jurist)! So true!! I hope that most recognise and understand the sarcasm in your suggestion!! This is the point at which we are in Dominica. The PM leads the pack in insulting the intelligence of his constituents and they continue along with him driving the train towards destruction with no brakes. These who support him and his political comrades will hopefully wake up soon to the facts! I only hope that they won’t wake up when the train reaches the bend and is going round it so fast that it starts to topple over. By then it will be too late. WAKE UP MY PEOPLE!!

  14. yeah
    November 24, 2016

    PPOD, I back you. That is how this man is, it seems he has grown too big. The minute anyone has an opinion that does not support his, he gets angry and starts to rant, call names, and attempt to intimidate. But, we are not afraid of him. The citizens of Dominica are a resilient people, we will not be intimidated by any scare tactic.

  15. Patriot
    November 24, 2016

    I do hope the Prime minister takes a read. This is quite informative from a “party” yet to introduce themselves to us. Great article.

  16. NKRUMAH KWAME
    November 24, 2016

    I my memory serves me correct, this is the second time that i have seen an article coming from the Peoples Party Of Dominica. If indeed such an organization exists, then it must come out publicly so that the population can know who its members are.
    On another note, paragraph nine ( 9 ) of said article states: ” Instead a 360- degree approach needs to be taken in order for the economy … to thrive”. Such a move would bring you back to just where you started. You may have wanted to say a 180 – degree. Please note the difference. Too many of us in Dominica make this error.
    HOTEP!

    • Patriot
      November 24, 2016

      Based on the content if the message…360 degrees makes sense here….I take it to mean it takes you full circle from a holistic point of view. Maybe the author should have used holistic with the 369 so a misunderstanding won’t occur. You can use 360 degrees in the right context, and this one sir is it. To say Dominicans use it incorrectly makes you sound better than thou….it depends like I stated the context in which it is used.

      • Tjebe fort
        November 25, 2016

        Patriot, sorry bro. but maths are not your strongest point either. To make a 369 degree turn is the same as making a 9 degree turn but with less energy. But you can make that turn to the left or the right, back ward or forward, the choice is yours.

    • Fidel Castro
      November 24, 2016

      In most instances, I agree that we should not do a 360 but rather a 180, while that may be true, in Dominica’a case we need to go back a full 360 as the very foundations we were built on was not built for us to succeed as a nation, so yes we do need to do a full 360 to fix the errors and the systems placed upon us by our colonial masters.

    • ISIS
      November 24, 2016

      The article didn’t say a 360-degree turnaround. The term “360-degree approach” refers to an actual methodology which is used in marketing and management etc.

      • Tjebe fort
        November 25, 2016

        Nonsense, a 360 degree turn takes you back exactly to the point you started, full circle. Why do that?

  17. viewsexpressed
    November 24, 2016

    Well…well. Well. Well said, well put together and I hope Dominicans read this twice and three times. This article with its relevant assessment is not within the thinking of the Skerrit government and his false acolytes. They alone believe they are doing good and therefore living in false paradise. This Skerrit led government is killing the human and natural resources of Dominica and may be helping their pockets and that of their friends getting bigger and better, as Dominica slips more into poverty.
    I recommend this article be sent by special mail to PM Skerrit and as a recently doctored person, we hope he is able to analyse this message and convey to his false prophets.

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